Strange Sex

Fully cocked, 6 or 7 Olympia brand dollar-beers in, I tipsily swiveled back and forth on my bar stool with temporary abandon. 30 minutes till the end of happy hour, which, at the downtown gay- and homeless-friendly pub, stretched from three to nine. I swiveled again and almost tipped off. I looked up without embarrassment to see a petite, tawny-skinned woman smiling at my antics with amusement. She was leaned over the bar, her long, loose pigtails almost touching the sticky wood, her sublime legs, with a scoop of definition between her Vastus Lateralis, crossed tight. Her attire wasn’t promiscuous, but casually revealing—appropriate for someone as breathtaking as she was.

Months of depression during the moribund fall, when everything is in rot, had left me with a kinky, half-foot beard and greasy hair down to my shoulders. I had been drinking heavily the week I had been in Olympia, and also not showering, so my pores poured putrid whiskey. I was wearing damp jeans, a soiled white Tee and an army jacket. A grey traveler’s bandanna was looped around my neck. I smiled back, drunk enough to think I had a chance.

“Hey! Wuzup?”

“Not too much…just feeding my alcoholism at my favorite downtown bar.”

“Oh yeah? I haven’t seen you here before…you’re here, like, regularly?”

“More regularly than you, apparently.”

“I’m Roger.” I started to stick out my hand, then, conveniently realizing mid-way through that she was too far away, slid over a stool. We shook.


Oh, how boring, the regular hook-up dreck. The closing of the curtains already decided upon, all that demanded focus was the manipulation of the various strings that led to that end-point. All the words were meaningless and would be stone-dull if we both didn’t want to fuck. Brief, cleaned-up backgrounds, stabs at wit & the gauging of the other’s laughter afterwards (inappropriate volume & duration—check). There’s a path & a formula to these sort of things (when to act as if we were letting a little of ourselves out—fake confessions—when to lightly touch—The Question of when to ‘get out of here’), and we were both playing our parts in high echelon.

After a time at this stupid dance, she leaned back, deactivating her positive body language. There was a hint of something in her eyes—a hint that she had something over me: a soft glow of pity.

“What?” My confidence wavered, but I still did the sexy smile.

The pity deepened in her smile.

“You know this is a gay bar, right?”


Immediately after I arrived in Olympia’s only hostel, a set of rules was pretentiously recited to me by the hardline hippie in charge as he stood on the porch, his voice affectedly casual. The most irritating of the dozen or so was that there was to be no alcohol consumed or even possessed on the property. I would have to get around this by concealing 40s of OE in my day-pack and belting them down while crouched in the dorm room.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I wandered downtown Olympia that night looking for something. It was the rainy season, and the entire city was sodden grey with fog and drizzle. Traveler-kids crowded the sidewalks, squatting and chatting. I passed The Spout, an always-running pipe of clear water which was a gathering place for wanderers. I found myself in a residential neighborhood, and could see a giant Anarchist banner through the front window. The place looked friendly.

Even though this town was a mecca for people on my path, I was too introverted & depressed to start a conversation. I ridiculously kept re-crossing my steps, hoping dearly that someone would call out to me. After several hours, a lanky traveler-kid smiled up at me:

“Hey, traveler.”


…and then I quickened my pace past him.


The bar had a gay-pride banner hanging outside, and was labeled as gay-friendly, which I guess was their way of saying ALL were welcome, and also this wasn’t the type of joint where you were gonna get head in the men’s room.

I got to know the bartender pretty quickly, and often read novels while sipping the local dollar-beers (Olympia Brand Beers—Made With Pure Olympia Water—Olympians are very fucking proud of their water). There, I met Jimmy, a homeless alcoholic in his late 40s. He showed me the ropes when my time ran out at the hostel, showed me which church it was safe to sleep in front of. He said he only drank beer anymore—“only beer, no liquor”—but relented pretty quickly when I offered to buy him a shot of Jager.


“You’re a lesbian?”


“Oh. Huh. I didn’t know.”

“Gotta girlfriend in Baghdad riiiight now.”

“Oh. Wow. Whaddabout the whole ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy?”

“It’s really not much of an issue. She just doesn’t tell.”

The conversation now actually became interesting, became a thing unto itself, now that the end-point was not decided. I was still flirting, but for no other reason then my dialog with women is usually flirtatious whether or not I have any desire to sleep with them.

Soria was really into Guitar Hero—kept bringing it up. Though usually too pretentious to enjoy video games, I had played it a good amount.

Soria glanced at the amusing wall-clock as it approached ten—the clock’s tick-marks were all in their right places, but the numbers were not.

“Huh—my bus leaves in like ten minutes…you wanna come back with me, play Guitar Hero, drink some beers?”

Now, actually viewing her as an entity and not an anti-Kantian means to an end, I agreed.

We ran laughing to the bus, snatching some Chinese on the way. We made the bus our territory, yelping comments to each other, engaging the other riders. She lived in a nice apartment complex about 20 minutes outside of town—her abode with three other lesbian chicks. There, we swilled Rolling Rocks and pranced around with the plastic guitar, racking up points. She beat me every time. To my defense, I was wasted, but she had drank far more than me.

One of her housemates strolled in to a stinking, bombed, unexplained homeless-looking guy foolishly dancing around while playing her video game. She gave Soria a look—really. She gave the look to her several times.

The housemate hung around, sipping on a Rolling Rock, talking vaguely about going to a club, inviting Soria along. Soria wasn’t into the idea.

“No—I think I’m gonna stay here. You should go though.” The housemate gave her the look one last time before leaving.


Soria had given me free reign to the carton of Virginia Slims she kept in the freezer after she had gone to bed, an offer I took full advantage of, being out of my Kools. I reflected on the magic weirdness of the evening—the wandering, serendipitous universe—as I let myself out on her second-floor porch to smoke. I inhaled the cool nicotine as I watched the black sky fade up to grey—another overcast morning. I was unable to sleep, and waited for Soria to rise, thinking of making her breakfast, but there wasn’t anything in her fridge but leftovers and alcohol. She wasn’t up by 9:30, and I didn’t want to explain my continued presence to her judging housemate. I let myself out, locked the door, and wandered her neighborhood until I found the bus stop back to central Olympia.


“I haven’t had sex with a man in eight years”—Soria, as I stripped her tank top off, revealing her soft, crafted form.

“Who was the last one?”

“That would be my husband…we’re technically still married.”


“Well, we’re separated. I haven’t seen him in eight years. He lives with my son in Mobile.”

I sat down in front of her on the Ottoman.

“You have a son?”

“I haven’t seen him in eight years.”

“How old are you anyway? If I may ask.”

“I’m 30.” I was 24.

“He’s in his late 40s now…yeah, he’s 47. I met him in Brasil, in Sao Paulo, where I’m from. He was visiting from Switzerland. He was 32, and I was only 15 at the time. I lied on the marriage application, said I was 18.”

“Did he know you were only 15?”

She shrugged.

“He found out eventually.”

Soria’s torso was a deep golden-brown in the lamplight, her high breasts the size and sweetness of oranges. Her phone rang as I was removing my pants. She picked up. I had no idea who it was, didn’t want to inquire. She mentioned her girlfriend several times to the caller as she roughly jerked me, smiling, the tips of her white teeth visible.

“Let’s go into your bedroom.”

“No.” Her eyes were deep, serious. “The bed is for my girlfriend.”

We fucked on the couch.

She showed me a picture of her girlfriend afterwards: she was Caucasian, thick-faced, wearing full military fatigues and a bulletproof vest—a picture texted straight from Baghdad.

No, you can’t sleep in my bed,” Soria smiled. “I told you. It’s only for my girlfriend. You can crash on the couch.”

She set me up with a pillow & blanket and disappeared into her room to sleep.


I called Soria a couple times the next day. She never got back to me.

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